When I was young I used to be envious of a lot of things; tall women, attractive women, women with
Kindly introduce yourself
Hi, I’m Christine. Sarcasm is my main language and I’m a go-getter. I love travelling, books, movies, I can make mean coffee and I’m the person behind The Backpacking Executive.
When did your love affair with traveling start?
Good question. I grew up in a coastal town in Quezon. We have the ocean, mountain, forest, fields and river as our playground. My hobbies as a kid involved climbing up trees to watch the clouds, collecting sea shells at the beach and exploring forest for the best (and stolen) fruits in town. I loved to explore and adventures ever since. I loved it so much that most of my childhood memories are the times that my family and I traveled or when my childhood friends and I were exploring our little town. I remember when I was 5 and my parents got us our first dog from an island we visited. I threw the dog from the boat on the way home because I believed the dog could swim faster than our boat and I could see she was bored. Don’t worry she lived and loved us until her last breath. But yeah, most of those best memories I had was when I was exploring.
You have a job that allows you to travel. It’s amazing, but what are the challenges that come along with it?
A lot haha. People think that having a remote job is so awesome and a dream job. But it isn’t. Every job has challenges even if you have the best job in the world. To be more specific, if you’re like me who is very hands on person, then the fact that you can’t see your staff and what they’re doing drive me crazy. Communication is harder when you don’t see the person face to face. There’s also an issue of boredom. I am extremely introvert and extremely extrovert. When I was still working in an office, I use my free time to chat with my colleagues about work and life in general. So other times, the working from my room works for me but there are times that I miss human connection and the pulsing energy of another human being driven by stress.
How does working remotely can be compared with working in the office?
The thing about working remotely is you can manage your time better. If you have to commute one hour to get to the office – one way – then you are basically wasting 2 hours of your life daily. 2 hours that you can use for sleeping, spending time with your family or additional hours to explore a new place. Although it’s without challenges, I can say that I prefer my setup right now compare to before.
Do you think everyone should consider working remotely?
Yes. But only if your heart is set on it and if you’re working a job that you really like or passionate about. What I mean with this is I have seen people giving up the jobs they are passionate about for English teaching or web designing. First off, I’m not looking down on these jobs. What I’m trying to say is people ride on online teaching bandwagon because they think they will be able to travel if they pursue a remote job. Totally forgetting a career they went to school for, a career they worked hard for and most especially a career they are really passionate about. I’m not saying you shouldn’t but will you give up something you love and pursue a job that you don’t even like just to say the end justifies the means? Yes, you can travel and that will probably make you happy but what about during those times that you’re working a job that you hate? So my advice, either create a remote job out of your career or something you’re passionate about and do what you think will make you happy more.
“Don’t ride a bandwagon just because. Instead create your own path and make sure you’re happy while doing that.”
What do you love about traveling alone?
The freedom and flexibility. I can hit 5 countries in one day or wake up in different countries every day and no one will complain. I also get to know my strength and weaknesses because only when you’re alone you can actually know your potential. And where you can fully know yourself.
You’ve traveled to so many places, but which one is your favorite so far and why?
Croatia because they got it all for you! Seriously, it is one of the most amazing countries I’ve been. They have scenic lakes straight from Narnia, glorious mountains, awesome beaches, amazing architecture and quaint little towns literally straight from Game of Thrones. And the people, I can say, are the warmest and most helpful Europeans I have ever met and it’s cheap! Like cheaper than the Philippines in some ways.
Where do you usually stay when you travel?
I always combine comfort and practicality. I stay between small hotels, guest houses and high rated hostels. Normally I would stay in hostels during weekend to meet people and to party. And during weekdays, I’m staying in private rooms in a hotel or guest house to make sure I can work peacefully during the evenings.
What is your non-negotiable term when traveling?
Three things for me:
- I love trying things at least once but no drugs.
- And respect the local customs. Whether you’re from free speech slash democratic country whatsoever, respect the local customs.
- Don’t litter.
What are your travel must-haves?
I bring my own bathroom with me. Lol. I also have my own manicure set when I travel. And one or 2 perfumes. It’s important for me to remain clean and to smell good.
Have you had any bad experiences while traveling?
Hah! Are you sure you guys wanna know? Lol. Okay I’ll just probably highlight some of the worst things. I got arrested in Macau and got detained in police station for 4 hours. I experienced the whole she-bang of police arresting; you on the street while they read your rights, asking you to face the wall and raise your hands while you are surrounded by over 20 policemen with their guns aiming at you. A scene straight from the movie ha! Also my ferry had to drop me 10 minutes ride away from my destination due to bad weather and I ended up in the middle of an island in the mouth of volcano in Sumatra, crying in the dark at 11pm because dogs were on my way trying to threaten me to slash my neck if I ever moved from my position, which is by the way was on the edge of the cliff (which I found out the next morning). That was the first time I asked myself what I was doing with my life. I could have been sleeping peacefully in my bed ya know? But I was in some ass place, in the middle of the night alone, with dogs trying to shred the last piece of my dignity.
Is there any country, which you consider to be your least favorite? Why?
Malaysia, but to be specific, Kuala Lumpur. I’ve been to the city like 6-7 times and it doesn’t grow on me. I also consider it unsafe if you will compare it to Manila. I got chased by thieves early in the morning until a nice taxi driver scared them away. I was lectured by an old Malaysian for not speaking in Bahasa when I asked him for direction. And the taxi drivers? The taxi drivers in Manila are saints compare to KL. This is not to diss Malaysia and I don’t discourage people to go there but these are what I have experienced personally and the reasons why it’s not my favorite.
What can you say about dating while traveling?
Have fun but open your eyes and don’t be consumed by the travel bubble. This is my advice and I know this is a bit harsh but it’s okay to be wild and adventurous but not stupid, okay?
What is the biggest learning that you’ve had because of traveling?
Myself. I got to know myself and I’m still learning. Also, no matter what the color of your skin is, no matter what kind of religion you follow or whatever your sexuality is – everyone speaks the same language when it comes to love, friendship and respect.
Tell us something about your blog
The blog’s idea was conceived while I was still living in Belize and my neighbors were having their usual catfight (yep classy ha) so I packed my laptop and went to one of the most decent hotels in the city to hang out in the pool. The business plan and ultimate goal were realized in a train in Manhattan. I tried to get people to do it but I ended up doing it myself and so after a year, I decided to launch it. Actually, the design wasn’t entirely ready but I just said, who cares? My ultimate goal is to have a one stop place for people who wants to travel. You want visa guides? Destination guides, accommodation, travel tips and crazy stories? We have it.
Where do you get your inspiration for your articles?
People around me. Analytics, marketing, and behavioral studies are my forte. I use those skills to study the people around me and from there I get my inspiration to write.
Any travel tips that you can impart to our readers especially to women who want to travel alone?
There are lots of travel tips that you can get from blogs but what I can personally advise you is be unapologetic. Don’t be sorry you’re dining out alone. Don’t be sorry you splurge on that expensive skydiving course. Don’t be sorry you ate an entire buffet station. More than your waist can handle. And don’t be sorry you kissed that hot stranger. Do things you have always wanted to do. And don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone.